Allegations of Nashville police sexual misconduct weren’t detailed enough to investigate, HR says

Allegations of Nashville police sexual misconduct weren’t detailed enough to investigate, HR says

One of the investigations into allegations of rampant sexual misconduct in the Nashville police department is not moving forward because there were not enough details to pursue the probe, a city official said Friday.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper and interim Police Chief John Drake called for criminal and civil investigations in August after the advocacy group Silent No Longer Tennessee publicized a report claiming department leaders had created a toxic culture that allowed harassment and misconduct to permeate the ranks.

The documents included redacted descriptions of some specific incidents, but other claims were more vague and did not include details. Group leader Greta McClain, a former Metro detective, said she omitted some details to protect the identity of women she spoke to who feared they would be punished for coming forward.

A trio of investigations into the group’s claims began: a criminal probe led by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, an internal police review that is considering potential department policy violations, and a Metro Human Resources investigation.

Official: Allegations lacked details

In a Friday email, human resources director Sharon Hall said her department’s review was no longer active because the allegations weren’t detailed enough to guide investigators.

“Metro Human Resources reviewed the information and found it to be significantly concerning,” Hall wrote. “But the allegations lacked necessary specific information regarding workplace harassment or discrimination or individuals identified that would be under the purview of Human Resources to conduct an investigation at this time.”

Hall encouraged “any current or former employee with any claim of workplace harassment or discrimination to reach out directly to Metro Human Resources.”

McClain said no one from human resources had reached out to ask for information.

“We have always been more than willing to speak with the victims and ask for additional information and/or let them know someone wished to speak to them,” McClain said in a statement. “However, we cannot facilitate that request if no one contacts us.”  

An internal police investigation into at least one of the allegations included in the Silent No Longer documents “is active and continuing,” according to Kathy Morante, director of the police department’s internal affairs unit.

Morante said at least two incidents mentioned in the Silent No Longer documents had been investigated and were not accurate. Morante said that because many other allegations in the Silent No Longer documents were vague, and did not include names or dates, it was hard to vet them.

The TBI did not return a request for comment about the status of its investigation.

Women feared retaliation for coming forward 

In September, McClain said at least 33 current and former police employees told her about incidents of claims of discrimination, sexual harassment or assault while they worked for the agency.

Many of the women came to her, she said, because they did not trust internal reviews led by the police department or city. McClain said all of the women she talked to expressed fear of retaliation.

Those concerns have become familiar in the Me Too era, when high-profile public allegations against celebrities, media stars and top corporate executives empowered other women to come forward with their stories of harassment, assault and mistreatment in the workplace.

Often, those women had remained silent about incidents that happened years ago because of fear they wouldn’t be taken seriously or that they would be retaliated against.

Reach Adam Tamburin at 615-726-5986 and atamburin@tennessean.com. Follow him on Twitter @tamburintweets.

Published at Sun, 13 Sep 2020 20:28:00 +0000

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *